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Sexual Abuse

How to Help Children and Youth Affected by Sexual Abuse

Definition: “Harmful touching of the child or youth’s genitals, (vagina, breasts, anus, penis, testicles); Penetration of mouth, vagina or anus with body parts or objects for any unnecessary reason; Non touching abuse is exposing the child or youth to pornography or to another persons genitals; Watching/Hearing Sexual Acts–in person or media images.”www.stopitnow.com

Incest; Knowledge Of Incest Of Other Family Members; Rape/Date Rape/Gang Rape/Sexual Behavior Initiated By Someone More Powerful–By Stranger(s) Or Friends–Oral, Anal, Vaginal Penetration; Sexual Coercion; Inappropriate Touching Of The Child Or Youth’s Genitals/Improper Touch Of Any Body Part–Especially Breasts And Genitals; Exposure To Suggestive Talk About Sexual Matters; Exposure To Pornography/Sexually Charged Images In Film, Magazine, Internet, Exposure To Sexual Prejudice, Exposure To Sexism/Gender PreJudice/Gender Stereotypes

Without help and even with help, sexual abuse has many difficult and harmful consequences including: physical pain; emotional pain; confusing fears; intellectual confusion; isolation; shame; loss of body feelings; loss of trust; possible guilt about feeling some pleasure; possible confusing excitement and enjoying “special” attention–to name a few. Children & youth who have suffered from sexual abuse can often grow up with: low self-esteem; confusing angers and fears, unhappiness; depression; addiction; challenges with their sexuality/sensuality; relationship challenges; inability to happily care for themselves - physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Often sexual abuse of any kind is so confusing and awful that the child or youth goes into shock and cannot remember what happened, even for decades. Abused children & youth can often live in their own world completely, “forgetting” the abuse, even as its happening. This “forgetting” process can spread to affect all aspects of learning and living. Without help many victims of sexual abuse may constantly need confirmation about who they really are throughout their lives. Without effective assistance, successful adult relationships can be extremely difficult. Continued help is often needed throughout life to reduce the stressful effects of the abuse(s). The effects on the child or youth of being sexual abused can be complicated by any number of factors including: having a previous or ongoing history of neglect; abandonment; abuses of all kinds (emotional abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, intellectual abuse).

Being sexually active at a young age or having sexual behavior between children of the same age can be extremely dangerous in many ways: fatal sexually transmitted disease; guilt; addiction; relationship challenges; distorted self - concept; childhood pregnancy; organ damage. Sexually active children and youth can become so sexually preoccupied that education suffers. This can often be due to and complicated by: childhood sexual abuse; low self-esteem; powerful needs for attention and affection; acceptance; premature sexual knowledge; exposure to pornography; hormone imbalances; exposure to environmental pollutants; nutritional imbalances. Some childhood sexual play/touching/exploration are normal behavior up to adolescence. Performing sexual acts usually reflects some previous exploitation by older children or self-centered abusive adults with poor boundaries.

Without help children & youth’s bodies can retain the memory of the great pain involved in having oral, vaginal or anal penaration. Joints can be dislocated, muscles ripped and stretched, physical and emotional sensations lost. Without sensitive help, normal body functioning can be challenging or extremely difficult. If the abuse is remembered, the great fears and confusions that can be caused by the abuse can last for the child or youth’s whole lifetime unless given effective help. Without help, unexpressed fear, rage and confusion can build up over many years and can erupt suddenly during adulthood (often during seemingly unconnected events–like staying in a motel). The shock of such sexual abuse can be locked in muscles and nerves making easy moving, feeling, thinking and learning very difficult. All of this emotional and physical discomfort can cause illnesses later in life. Thankfully, with skilled help, healing is possible.

The causes of children or youth being abused can be due to and complicated by a combination of factors including: perpetrator mental illness; repressed and unresolved childhood abuse of perpetrators; perpetrator alcohol and drug use/abuse; perpetrator low self-esteem; perpetrator having very distorted ideas about sex; lack of perpetrator consciousness and conscience; perpetrator self-centeredness; perpetrator nutrition imbalances; exposure to pollutants causing perpetrator to have bizarre thinking patterns.

Incest:

Without help, incest can be one of the most damaging sexual abuses because it combines coercion, pain, pleasure and a violation of love and trust by a formerly safe family member. It can create guilt, betrayal, loss of love and confusion. These can cause great havoc in adult life unless considerable help and support are given. Children & youth are often not believed when they report incest often due to fear of family breakdown. Not being believed when reporting incest can create even more confusion, mistrust, guilt, rejection and isolation. “Telling” risks the loss of whatever appropriate love and attention is available to the child or youth. The physical sensations and pain of incest are very harmful; however, the psychological pain is even greater. Recovery from incest is very complex and difficult. The causes of children or youth being incested can be due to and complicated by a combination of factors including perpetrators having: mental illness; repressed and unresolved childhood abuse; alcohol and drug use/abuse; low self-esteem; distorted ideas about sex; lack of conscience; immature and self-centered personality structure; prolonged anxiety, depression or other mental illness; nutritional imbalances; exposure to pollutants causing bizarre thinking patterns.

Knowledge of incest of other family members:

Without sensitive help, not being able to help brothers or sisters who are being incested leaves children & youth with crippling guilt, fear, shame, pain and confusion. Without sensitive help, hearing family stories of parents themselves being sexually abused as children or youth can be also very disorienting, confusing and painful for the children or youth. As with all sexual abuse, without help, this experience creates great fear and tension around intimacy, pleasure, trust, and sexuality throughout adult life.

Rape/date rape/gang rape/sexual behavior initiated by someone more powerful–by stranger(s) or friends–oral, anal, vaginal penetration:

Without sensitive help, such abuse has painful lifetime consequences, noteably: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual shock and pain. Healing can take a great deal of time. Distrust, doubt, confusion, memory loss, shame, guilt, depression, hopelessness are common and recurring emotions.

Often rage about having suffered this abuse does not come to the surface until much later in the healing process. Rape is often caused by and complicated by a combination of factors, including; perpetrator(s’) mental illness; perpetrators having bizarre ideas about sexuality fed by media misuse of images of sexuality for purposes of financial profit. Shame, ignorance and discomfort about sex has also contributed to perpetrator ideas about sex/rape/gang rape. Countries with the most society-wide open discussions about sexuality have the least rape. The causes of children or youth being raped can be due to and complicated by a combination of factors including perpetrators’: mental illness; lack of impulse and rage control; repressed and unresolved childhood abuse of perpetrators; alcohol and drug use; low self-esteem; exposure to pollutants causing bizarre thinking patterns. Happily, preventative and protective programs are coming into existence in some communities through the public health department, schools and child protective agencies.

Sexual coercion:

Sexual coercion involves using pressure, lies, threats, tricking, blackmail, alcohol, drugs or force to have sexual contact with someone against his or her will. Sexual coercion also includes persistent attempts to have sexual contact with someone who has already refused advances. Perpetrators do this for a wide variety of reasons, including factors involving: family and community patterns; peer pressure; mental illness; prejudice; stereotyping; media images. Happily, preventative and protective programs are coming into existence in some communities through the public health department, schools and child protective agencies.

Inappropriate touching of the child or youth’s genitals/improper touch of any body part–especially breasts and genitals:

Children & youth need to be taught what constitutes “safe touch” and “unsafe touch”. They need to learn where touch is okay and where it is not. They need to be taught who is safe to touch them and who is not. The popular “good touch/bad touch” ideas have many benefits and some drawbacks. It is a complicated issue that needs calm, comfortable, mature adult explanation. Children & youth can profit from learning verbal and physical self-defense techniques. Open communication patterns between families and children or youth are important so that children & youth can get help in releasing the emotions they feel if they were inappropriately touched. Some exploratory play is normal with young children & youth. Adults who touch inappropriately or abusively often have distorted ideas through being touched inappropriately themselves as children or youth. Happily, preventative and protective programs are coming into existence in some communities through the public health department, schools and child protective agencies.

Exposure to suggestive talk about sexual matters:

Without effective help, teaching, reinterpretation and emotional release, such abuse can be confusing, frightening, depressing and can make the child or youth feel lonely and often sexually preoccupied. This type of abuse is often a precursor to more severe abuse. Insecure children & youth simultaneously often enjoy the attention. Such behavior gives children & youth damaging ideas about sex and pleasure.

Exposure to pornography/sexually charged images in film, magazine, Internet, exposure to sexual prejudice, exposure to sexism/gender prejudice/gender stereotypes:

Without effective assistance in reframing and reinterpreting, exposure to pornography can give children & youth confusing ideas about sex that can prevent having happy sexual, sensual relationships as adults. Pornography gives children & youth too much information which confuses them. Many adults are uncomfortable talking with children or youth about sex, either healthy sex, or pornographic sex. In mainstream media, powerful sexual images are cleverly used to sell products to teens and adults. Children & youth need to know that pornography/media are huge industries which exploit sexuality.

First, We Would Investigate:

Second, We Would Investigate

For Long Term Support
We Would Investigate

  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychiatry
  • Nonviolent Communication
  • Support For Parents
  • Craniosacral
  • EMDR
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Aikido
  • Yoga
  • Attitudinal Healing
  • Expressive Arts
  • Nutrition Consulting
  • Western Medicine
  • Osteopathy
  • Flower Essences
  • Homeopathy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Ayurveda
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Herbology
  • Light Therapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Feldenkrais
  • Wilderness Therapy
  • Drumming
  • Music Lessons
  • Developmental Optometry
  • Massage
  • Precision Teaching
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychiatry
  • Flower Essences
  • Attitudinal Healing
  • Expressive Arts
  • Aikido
  • Yoga
  • Aromatherapy
  • Craniosacral
  • Ayurveda
  • Support For Parents
  • Nonviolent Communication
  • EMDR
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Flower Essences
  • Homeopathy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Ayurveda
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Herbology

On Our Own We Would Try: • Long Walks/Hikes • Nature • Pets • Wholesome Pleasures • Bedtime Stories and Chats • Back Rubs And Foot Massages • Replace sodas, juices, sugars, fats, fast foods with water, veggies, whole grains, nuts, protein, fruit, slow food • Less or No TV, Movies, Video/Computer Games

For Parents: • Become familiar with age-appropriate sexual behavior. • Learn the signs of sexual abuse. • Learn how to talk about these issues with your child or youth before anything happens. • Ask your health provider for assistance. • If your child or youth has been abused, get professional support for yourself so that you can be very soothing, loving, compassionate, considerate and effective in supporting your abused child or youth.• Do not try to deal with this issue alone. You may have to hunt carefully to get the right kind of support for yourself and your child or youth. • Remember that, unless you take effective action, the confusing and painful consequences of sexual abuse will keep emerging, possibly for the abused child or youth’s lifetime. • Do not try to rush healing and recovery. It takes time. • Give the child or youth lots of loving support, acceptance and patience. • Know that effective recovery is possible. • Good nutrition, safe sleep, enjoyable exercise are essential. • There are effective preventative programs available which can help children & youth develop healthy boundaries and self-protective skills.

Check out: National Child Traumatic Stress Network: www.nctsn.org;
Med Line Plus: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus; Stop It Now: www.stopitnow.com; W. Polack, author of Real Boys and Real Boys’ Voices: www.williampollack.com; Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher, www.marypipher.net.

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